Community, Representation, Sustainability and Globalization: Looking Back at eBay’s 2023 Award-Winning Sellers
Since 2004, eBay has recognized Canadian entrepreneurs harnessing the e-commerce company’s digital marketplace to scale and propel their businesses through its annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. As we head into a new year, we’re looking back at some of the Canadian small businesses that stood out on eBay’s platform in 2023.
“The winners, chosen from a record number of seller entries, showcase best-in-class examples of how the platform enables sellers to stay local and sell global, with access to 132 million buyers across 190 markets,” said eBay Canada General Manager Garry Thaniel. “At eBay, we recognize how much small business owners pour their hearts into ensuring their businesses flourish and succeed. We partner with sellers; we don’t compete with them. Our purpose is to fuel their success and make it easy for them to move their products online. We want to empower small businesses across Canada with our tools, support and advocacy to help keep their business growing.”
Winners of the Entrepreneur of the Year awards receive not only the industry recognition and cash prizes to reinvest in their businesses, but also invaluable resources, including a one-year eBay Store subscription upgrade, a year-long quarterly consultation session with an eBay Canada business development specialist, and a professional photography session.
Alongside its world-class tools to make worldwide shipping a breeze, seller insights to customize promotions or create great listings that work in any country for optimized sales, as well as the flexibility to choose the format that works for them, eBay continues to make it easy for Canadian small business owners to stay local and sell global.
Beyond their ability to leverage the power of eBay to sell to the world, the 2023 winners showcase the breadth and depth of the innovative small business community and their success in bringing community, representation, sustainability and globalization to the forefront.
Read on to meet 2023’s acclaimed recipients.
Micro-Multinational of the Year: ACO Repairs & Sales Solutions
After years of working in a business dedicated to repairing manufacturing components, Mississauga-based Amy Ozueh saw an opportunity to not just repair but also sell parts directly to customers worldwide. Leveraging her understanding of the industry, she founded ACO Repairs & Sales Solutions in 2006. Since then, this small business has grown outside its North American roots, as it continues to expand internationally with over 20 per cent of its client base in countries like Germany and Japan. “Through eBay, we’ve been able to increase our visibility seamlessly beyond borders and increase sales with European customers,” says Ozueh. “They continue to purchase our products more frequently, and ACO is quickly becoming one of their preferred vendors.”
Being recognized as 2023’s Micro-Multinational of the Year marks a significant milestone for the business, as it further empowers ACO in its plans to open a location in Houston, Texas. “We’re incredibly pleased with the visibility this recognition has provided to ACO,” adds Ozueh.”It has already played a big role in our continued mission to connect cross-border on the ground with our clients in the United States.”
Emerging E-commerce Entrepreneur of the Year: Partsterr
With a rich family legacy spanning over three decades in the auto parts business, Nicolas Panaritis, founder of Partsterr Auto Parts, developed a deep passion and curiosity for the industry from a young age. Recognizing the complexities and specific needs that customers experience when shopping for automotive parts, he set out to transform the landscape by digitizing the experience beyond a traditional brick-and-mortar store model through e-commerce. “eBay felt like a natural place for my business to exist,” says Panaritis. “It’s clear to me that eBay prioritizes the experiences of its sellers and continues to work closely with them to help grow their businesses online. I’ve been able to leverage eBay’s technology and infrastructure for listing and selling products, and take advantage of its established customer base and marketing tools to gain exposure across all markets. As the platform continues to evolve and keep up with the latest and best practices in e-commerce, I have no doubt it remains the best space for me to help grow my business.”
Based in Montreal, Panaritis has quickly become one of the top auto parts sellers on eBay Canada, thus earning his distinction as 2023’s Emerging E-commerce Entrepreneur of the Year. “My plan is to reinvest the prize money into several different areas, including additional customer service and marketing,” he says. “From the photography package to the one-year store subscription, this program will help to give my business a clearer and more personalized identity while also allowing me to continue scaling up and growing trust with our dedicated buyers.”
Sustainable Seller of the Year: JLS Distributions
In 2023, eBay introduced a new category to the awards—Sustainable Seller of the Year—to recognize a seller who has leveraged the platform in support of a more green and sustainable e-commerce economy. JLS Distributions, the inaugural winner of this award, is a family-owned business with a passion for reducing waste and promoting a green economy across local communities in North America. For more than 15 years, Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec husband-and-wife team Jimmy Lachance and Genevieve Gaudreault sold used appliances and helped customers repair their own with parts, keeping these large objects in working order and out of landfills. Since joining eBay in 2017, JLS Distributions has sold over 12,000 appliance parts, extending its reach across North America and positively impacting thousands of customers by providing in-demand products to their customers at lower prices while also extending appliance lifespans. Furthermore, it has been able to successfully showcase the benefits of facilitating more environmentally friendly practices while still keeping up to date with the industry.
Providing visibility for their small business, eBay’s marketplace has become a critical part of JLS’s business model; winning the first-ever Sustainable Seller of the Year award is simply an added bonus. “While the prizes themselves are all extraordinary, what truly brings us the most joy is the recognition from eBay amongst all business owners that we are making an impact through our efforts and that they are here to continue to support us now and in times to come,” says Gaudreault.
2023 Entrepreneur of the Year: SlabSharks
Lastly, eBay’s Entrepreneur of the Year recognizes an eBay seller who best represents the spirit of eBay’s seller community. 2023’s winner, SlabSharks, is a remarkable success story born out of a longstanding passion for collectibles. Co-founder Karn Rai, a lawyer by training, spent years nurturing relationships and industry knowledge at trading card shows and expos across North America. In 2022, with a modest $3,000 investment, Rai and his friends—Harman Gill, Raja Dhillon, Gagan Rana and Nav Chahal—established SlabSharks, a sports card and trading card consignment hub. Since its inception, the business has leveraged eBay far beyond what it could have possibly imagined, supporting seven figures in sales in 2022 with more than double this value in 2023. “eBay remains the go-to spot for consumers interested in collectibles,” says Rai. “By continuously selling on the platform, SlabSharks has been able to build a dedicated following while incrementally building our brand as a whole.”
In 2023, SlabSharks opened its first office in Mississauga. Further propelled by eBay’s support, this rapidly growing small business has even bigger plans for the future. “As our appetite for growth continues, the prize money will help us with the acquisition of a 360-degree photography system, allowing for higher quality images of items being listed on the eBay platform,” says Rai. “The collectibles consumer is extremely observant of the images provided by a seller, so our investment will ensure that customers feel confident in the condition of items we are selling, thus hopefully resulting in higher bids.”
Above all, eBay’s Entrepreneur of the Year believes that a culmination of hard work and community support made it possible to build and elevate the company’s profile so quickly. “Taking a minute to pause and celebrate has been great for our team, as this recognition represents an important milestone for us as a business,” says Rai. “The excitement in our office is truly contagious, and we’re looking forward to continuing to build on the momentum we’ve gained over the past two years as we look further ahead into 2024 and beyond.”
The Power of eBay
Today, eBay connects millions of buyers and sellers around the world to a global marketplace of 1.9 billion listings, spanning virtually every type of product you could imagine. In fact, now more than ever, Canadian small business owners are leveraging the power of eBay to sell to the world.
Small businesses have powered the majority of sales on eBay since the beginning and across Canada, sellers are using eBay to access 132 million active buyers worldwide, with a whopping 99 per cent of them exporting to an average of 18 countries.
eBay makes it easy for Canadian entrepreneurs to grow their small businesses, getting everything up and running for them to sell to a global market with world-class tools, seller insights and flexibility to choose the format that works for them. A recent global survey found that 92 per cent of sellers agreed that eBay is accessible to all, made even more powerful by the fact that 90 per cent of sellers say eBay wins when sellers win.
By creating a trusted selling and buying experience that protects consumers and sellers alike over the past three decades, eBay continues to differentiate itself from other platforms and uses its technology to connect people. Through its ongoing mission to empower entrepreneurs, connect communities and create economic opportunity for all, eBay looks forward to supporting and seeing more Canadian small businesses succeed globally in 2024 and beyond.